Picking up steam

Woodland’s Lindsey Gabianelli (10) bumps the ball Sept. 21 versus Wilby in Beacon Falls. Woodland won, 3-0. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI

Woodland’s Lindsey Gabianelli (10) bumps the ball Sept. 21 versus Wilby in Beacon Falls. Woodland won, 3-0. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI

BEACON FALLS — The Hawks may have taken a game or two to work the kinks out, but once things get going the Woodland volleyball team is like a train heading down a mountain — nothing can slow it down.

It’s been full speed ahead of late for Woodland. In the last four matches, the Hawks have run over Watertown, Wilby, Wolcott and Waterbury Career all by 3-0 sweeps to improve to 6-1 on the season.

“As coach Amato says, ‘we don’t need anyone, we need everyone,’” senior front row hitter Jen Triana said. “I don’t consider myself to be the best front row player on the team. But all of us, together form a strong unit and that is how we can be successful.”

The Hawks struggled to start the season losing to Torrington and then battling Naugatuck in a five-game thriller. But once the Hawks gained a little confidence they picked up some steam

McKenna Cronin led the way with seven kills and five aces in the Sept. 20 victory (25-4, 25-11, 25-16) over Watertown. Triana added two kills, four assists and three aces.

Woodland’s Rachel Poulos hits the ball off a serve as Julia Swiatek (6) backs her up Sept. 21 versus Wilby in Beacon Falls. Woodland won, 3-0. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI

Woodland’s Rachel Poulos hits the ball off a serve as Julia Swiatek (6) backs her up Sept. 21 versus Wilby in Beacon Falls. Woodland won, 3-0. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI


“Our communication on the floor has developed because we have been training together for four years,” Cronin said. “We faced some tough opponents to start the season so it gave us a little insight into what we are going to be facing this year.”

The Hawks made quick work of Wilby Sept. 21, winning by margins of 25-2, 25-9 and 25-13. Steph Krebbs led the way at the net with five kills. Katie Minutillo added two kills and two aces with Julia Swiatek coming up with three kills and three aces.

“This is a Lego team,” Amato said. “Individually they are scattered on the court, they all have different skills, but when you snap them all together they make a real solid structure.

“What’s nice about that is you can pull them all apart and restructure it differently every time. Three-quarters of our matches have been played by different combinations playing in different roles.”

Ally Mayne stabilizes the middle of the floor with Fatima Khalid, Rachel Poulos and Nicole Desiderio coming off the bench to provide a spark.

Woodland completed the sweeps last week with a convincing win (25-12, 25-15, 25-19) over Wolcott Sept. 23. Emily Brouilette led the way with 10 kills and two blocks. Maddie Hupprich steered the offense with 17 assists, five aces and six kills. Lindsey Gabianelli added three kills and two aces.

Woodland’s Katie Minutillo (4) hits the ball Sept. 21 versus Wilby in Beacon Falls. Woodland won, 3-0. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI

Woodland’s Katie Minutillo (4) hits the ball Sept. 21 versus Wilby in Beacon Falls. Woodland won, 3-0. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI


The Hawks kept rolling on Tuesday, beating Waterbury Career, 3-0.

The Hawks have the look of a team that can continue the success of a program that has reached four straight state semifinals. But this year’s team isn’t looking in the rearview mirror.

“I don’t think we feel any pressure to try and duplicate what teams in the past have done,” Hupprich said. “We are our own team just playing for the Woodland name and just happy to be playing and representing our school.”

Amato added, “Someone had asked earlier this season if we are having a down year. They were right. Our unforced errors are down, our service mistakes are down, our hitting is down, so I guess we are having a down year.

“I’m really a lucky coach. I’m not doing this alone, I have Chris Tomlin and Jenna Broadbent who work countless hours getting these girls ready to step in at the varsity level and the success of this team is a direct result of all of us being on the same page.”

Woodland will host St. Paul on Thursday, before visiting Kennedy on Friday. Woodland returns home Oct. 4 to play Crosby.